8:58pm Friday 16th May 2014
By Tom Guest
WORCESTERSHIRE made a Rapid start with the ball, but were unable to capitalise as they fell to an opening night NatWest T20 Blast defeat at Durham Jets.
Playing under their new Rapids moniker for the first time, Steve Rhodes’ men were quickly out of the blocks with two early wickets for Jack Shantry and one from Moeen Ali helping to reduce the hosts to 33-3 at the Emirates International Cricket Ground.
However, former England captain Paul Collingwood starred with bat and ball as the Jets fought back to complete a comfortable 29-run victory at their Chester-le-Street base.
Collingwood smashed 62 off 38 balls and took 3-29 as Durham, who had been put in by Rapids skipper Daryl Mitchell, got their 20-over campaign off to a flying start.
Worcestershire will look to bounce back quickly when they play their second game of the competition tonight in a floodlit clash against Lancashire Lightning at Old Trafford (7pm).
Collingwood was ably assisted by debutant Calum MacLeod with the pair putting on 113 for the fourth wicket after a dreadful start had seen the Jets slump to 4-2.
Opener Phil Mustard fell leg before to Moeen off the fourth ball of the innings for just one. Captain Mark Stoneman followed him back to the pavilion eight balls later after picking out Moeen at square leg off the bowling of Shantry to leave the home side in tatters.
Things did not improve markedly in the short run with Scott Borthwick holing out at mid-on, but it was then that MacLeod and Collingwood steadied the ship with a superb century partnership, the former reaching 50 of 40 balls and the latter taking nine deliveries fewer.
MacLeod’s unbeaten 80 included seven fours and two sixes, while Collingwood struck three maximums and five fours before top-edging Saeed Ajmal to Mitchell.
Shantry was the pick of the bowlers with 2-25 from his four overs, with Saeed’s one wicket costing him 45 runs.
The Rapids’ chase started positively with opener Moeen racing to 21 before Usman Arshad had him caught by MacLeod at square leg.
However, it was Richard Oliver, the former Shropshire batsman who was handed a surprise debut, who led the way for the County, battling his way to a top-score of 43 before falling to a stunning diving catch in the deep by Gordon Muchall.
Despite that, wickets fell at regular intervals and the visitors never threatened to match Durham’s total of 173-4 as they were eventually dismissed for 144.
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